The city of Kastoria is famous for its natural beauty that you reflect from the beautiful lake, the Byzantine churches, the traditional mansions and its famous furs.
Kastoria, spreads amphitheatrically at an altitude of 620 meters. It is built on a peninsula, which penetrates into Lake Orestiada and below the impressive mountains of Grammos and Vitsi. According to the latest census, the population of the Prefecture amounts to 53,483 inhabitants, while the city has 20,636 inhabitants.
The Prefecture of Kastoria is located at the western end of Western Macedonia. It borders the prefectures of Florina, Grevena, Kozani and Ioannina, as well as Albania, on the west side.
The lake of Kastoria, one of the most beautiful in the Balkans, is directly connected with the physiognomy, history and evolution of the city. It has been designated as a "Monument of Natural Beauty" by the Ministry of Culture and has been included in the European Network "Nature 2000".
Its area is about 28 square kilometers and its maximum depth is about 9.5 meters. It is a wetland of great importance for aquatic animals, but also for birds of prey and serves as a breeding, feeding and wintering area.
The monuments of Orthodoxy are an important expression of Greek culture and attract many visitors. Kastoria is truly a living museum of Byzantine art. A tour of its numerous monuments can give a complete picture of the different phases and expressions of ecclesiastical art from the end of the 9th to the 14th century.
Kastoria is connected by air with Athens, through the international airport "Aristotelis", which is located in Argos Orestiko. Access to the prefecture is now easy and comfortable via the Egnatia Highway. Alternatively, the old highway can be used. There are also bus routes from Thessaloniki and Athens. Useful phone numbers:
KTEL Kastoria: 2467083455
The history of fur
Kastoria is one of the most important, worldwide, centers of production, processing and distribution of fur. The long tradition, the excellent quality and the international connections that have been created over the years, make the fur industry one of the most important export sectors of the country, as well as an extremely productive part of the national economy.
The art of making furs was developed from Byzantine times, probably when the first Kastorian craftsmen learned in Constantinople. In the 16th and 17th centuries the guild of Kastorian furriers of Constantinople was at its peak and many of its members held positions of great prestige and influence. During the Turkish occupation, the demand for furs was great because the Turks loved the luxurious fur clothes, but also because the officers' uniforms had fur pieces. In the early years they used skins from whole animals, but later, in the 18th century, there was a shortage of animals, so the people of Kastoria made wonderful clothes from scraps.
The fur trade center was Leipzig, where once a year, every Sunday of Thomas, merchants procured leathers to process. The Kastorians gained a great reputation for their art, opened markets outside the Ottoman Empire, and established representations in Europe and Russia. The prosperity of this era is reflected in the mansions of the city.
The processing of the fur is done in the same traditional way, for five hundred years. The skins come from small animals raised inside and outside Greece. Matching the pieces and sewing require specialization, a lot of patience and attention.
The furs, which can be seen everywhere walking in the city, are works of a high art and technique, passed down from generation to generation.
The visitor has the opportunity to buy at affordable prices these unique quality samples of Kastorian art in one of the many shops in the city.